I am scheduled for the Egyptology trip beginning on Feb. 20. Because I had previously had reservations with OAT, and made my own air arrangements, I am arriving on the 15th and will meet the group on the 20th. So far, I have heard nothing from Exodus or Adventure Center regarding the riots and demonstrations in Cairo. True, our hotel is in Giza, but that is a little close. Of course, if I was there right now, I would probably be marking with the demonstrators against Mubarek, but that might not be a good idea either.
If there is anyone else scheduled for this trip, lets discuss the situation. I am not inclined to cancel, but if Exodus elects to do so, we should discuss our options.
The U.S. Department of State alerts U.S. citizens to ongoing political and social unrest in Egypt. Violent demonstrations on January 28 took place in several areas of Cairo and other parts of the country, disrupting road travel between city centers and airports. Disruptions in communications included the interruption of internet and mobile telephone service. The Government of Egypt has imposed a curfew from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. in Cairo, Alexandria and Suez until further notice. Given this situation, the Department of State urges U.S. citizens to defer non-essential travel to Egypt at this time and advises U.S. citizens currently in Egypt to defer non-essential movement and to exercise caution. This Travel Alert expires on February 28, 2011.
In the event of demonstrations, U.S. citizens in Egypt should remain in their residences or hotels until the situation stabilizes. Security forces may block off the area around the U.S. Embassy during demonstrations, and U.S. citizens should not attempt to come to the U.S. Embassy or the Tahrir Square area at such times. The Embassy duty officer is available to U.S. citizens for emergencies at +20 1 2797-3300 during evening and weekend hours and the American Citizens Services Section can be reached at +20 1 2797-2301 during business hours, Sunday to Thursday from 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. and at email@example.com.
Demonstrations have degenerated on several occasions into violent clashes between police and protesters, resulting in injuries and extensive property damage. While demonstrations have not been directed toward Westerners, U.S. citizens are urged to remain alert to local security developments and to be vigilant regarding their personal security. The U.S. Department of State strongly urges U.S. citizens to avoid all demonstrations, as even peaceful ones can quickly become unruly and a foreigner could become a target of harassment or worse. If caught unexpectedly near a demonstration, U.S. citizens should obey instructions from police and leave the area as quickly as possible. U.S. citizens resident in Egypt should monitor local news broadcasts and U.S. citizen visitors should ask tour guides and hotel officials about any planned demonstrations in the locations they plan to visit. U.S. citizens should carry identification and a cell phone which works in Egypt.
U.S. citizens in Egypt are encouraged to enroll in the Smart Travelers Enrollment Program (STEP)
Updated information on travel and security in Egypt may be obtained from the Department of State by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. For further information, please consult the Country Specific Information for Egypt , as well as the Worldwide Caution
The Embassy is located at 5 Tawfik Diab Street (formerly known as Latin America Street), Garden City, Cairo. For further information, U.S. citizens may call the Embassy’s American Citizen Services Unit at 2797-2301 during business hours, Sunday to Thursday from 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. For emergencies after business hours and on weekends and holidays, U.S. citizens can contact the Embassy Duty Officer via the Embassy switchboard on 2797-3300.
Spoke with Exodus, they claim that there are 15 tours in Egypt at the present time and no problem. They are adopting a wait and see attitude, which gives me some concern. The news just reported 17 people shot and killed while demonstrating outside a police station, and it is clear that there is widespread and uncontrolled violence in the city. The Antiquities museum has been damaged and the Pyramids are now closed to all.
Delta Airlines, my carrier, has suspended all flights to Egypt, indefinitely.
The US State Department has issued it's highest alert and advised that there be NO non-essential travel to Egypt.
If Mubarak were to step down tomorrow, it isn't clear how long it would take to install a temporary government, how long it will take to get the peace restored, how long it will take to restore order and how long before tourism returns to normal.
I think it is time for Exodus to get off the pot and make a decision with regards to trips scheduled in February. At this point, my wife is all over me to cancel the trip and rebook it for later in the year or same time next year.
I beleive exodus are as helpless as we are in this situation. They wouldnt want to cancel bookings and have the non-essential travel ban lifted the day after. While I am as dissapointed as anyone at the unlikelyhood of being able to go in February there is little anyone can do.
I would expect they would cancel a week before the trip departure due date. But it is not looking likely any of us will go in February.
Odysseys Unlimited has canceled their trips through the end of February and has issued full refunds to the travelers who signed on. Those who wish to re-book to a later date are being given first priority as to dates.
OAT isn't talking to their clients and when asked if one can cancel or re-book to a later date, their response was NO.
Exodus is closed for the weekend.
Since my airline has canceled all service, it certainly doesn't look like I am going.
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